SINCE THE BEGINNING
Exhibition of Artworks by Chantal Meza
Life. Nasty. Short. Brutish. Survival. Nothing, but survival. Only the fittest. Fire. Wilderness. Kill the barbarians. They know only destruction. But what of nature? Beautiful. Deadly. The site of all betrayal. Where only wolves amongst men and seductresses reside. Let’s tame those savage ecologies. Call it civilization. And later we will call it progress. Yet this comes at a price. Dispossession always does.
Race becomes us all. An Infernal Babylon. Let’s create them out of the ashes of the sacred crises. The imperial condition: invented by life. Made to live, allowed to die. And so, it begins. Millions abducted. Taken from the shores of golden lands. Sold like cattle, punished as chattel. Confessions of the flesh. Lacerated by time. Later we will hang them from trees, parade them through the streets, shoot them in the grimy gutters of every metropolis, just because it remains the natural order of things.
Globalization. Discovery. The world made visible. The world as picture. Cortez. Columbus. d’Bry. Dore. How we suffered into truth. But only for the ancestral to perish. The circularity of denial. The rotation of power, but only for the select few. Everything returns. Slavery to Syrians, from the Atlantic pass into the depths of the Mediterranean, so the Platonic shadows that gave rise to the imperial model, man imitating man, imitating nature, continue to dwell in imprisoning caves. Shadows that wish to dance, looking deep into a poetic flame, merely disappear with the violence of time. Yet who lit the embers? And who led them into the cave in order to deny them their very existence?
Their silence was never empty. Not every abyss total. Counter history learns to hide, knowing the unintelligible can also be life affirming in the face of destruction. So, the watch-persons refuse to let memory be a victim of this history. How many, they ask, have already been forgotten? How many consigned into the dust of history? History tells us we remember only the brightest & the best. But whose version of history? What violence committed in the act of being remembered so that others can be so swiftly forgotten? Or is it the reverse? It doesn’t matter. It’s all the same. That’s the real seduction. Apologists. Deniers. Those who know the burning of books has always taken many different forms.
Still the memory of the earth tells a different story. Real histories, the real depths of human suffering, sites of disappearance, they were never shown on ordinance maps for power. True places never are. What's needed is a different image of this landscape. Hung like an animal carcass on the wall – documenting all the atrocities just like a fateful trophy to the impotence of man in the face of his mortality, in the face of his bestiality. Since the Beginning tells us of this slaughterhouse, we created for ourselves. A world where the blood seeps through the flesh of the earth, where the topography is brutally torn, where the black soil appears to remind us of the shadows cast by the black sun of the void.
Who is beast?
In the dark, the admixture, the prance
In his violent act
The death in its body explodes, the ash to disappear
Bring about, the shape of your image
Dance, walk, cry
Ask me to find your trace
The blood falls
You, the one, explodes, splashes
A sea of blood
A beast, embracing you
Leave your wounds exposed
They are necessary
A predisposed abyss
Lapses of memory
Leave a shadow
Theatre of the Disappeared. Act One
Since the Beginning
Brad Evans & Chantal Meza (2022)